As sure as winter descends upon ‘The Wall’, so pumpkin will always have a place in our hearts. It’s that girl you love to hate, the one that unassumingly wins everyone over with her humble sweetness and (albeit slightly orange) good looks. Unaware of her secret, you are drawn in to become life long friends. You even get matching BF necklaces. Little do you know, her blatant promiscuity means she is everyone’s best friend. Somehow her earthy character mixes with just about everyone you know. She’s a sneaky devil. Her newest friend, bok choy is a surprise, even to you. But soon, I promise, you will realise they were destined for each other.
You will be happy to know that your friend also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse (is there anything she isn’t good at?!). Her revered orange colour comes from high amounts of beta-carotene, the same nutrient that gives carrots their colour. Your body converts this nutrient into vitamin A, which has been shown to aid vision, particularly in low light. Pumpkins also contain lots of phytosterols, which reduce the amount of LDL or “bad cholesterol” in your blood, potentially reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only this, pumpkins are very high in fibre, which helps to keep the old plumbing system working smoothly. A friend indeed.
Pumpkin is best bought from autumn through to early summer in Australia. Strike a conversation with your local fruit dealer to find out what is in season, and if pumpkins are out, try substituting something that is, like sweet potato, beetroot or even eggplant!
Pumpkin and asian greens salad with miso dressing
Serves 4 as an entree
- one large butternut pumpkin (or any pumpkin will do), roughly chopped, skin left on (it’s good for you!)
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Bok choy & choy sum
- 2 bunches each of baby bok buoy and choy sum, washed, separated and roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch spring onions, finely sliced on a diagonal
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds or toasted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 long red chilli finely sliced on an angle
For the pumpkin
Place pumpkin in one layer in a roasting dish, scattered the salt over and drizzle the coconut oil. Toss to coat the pumpkin with the oil and salt. Bake in a 200 degree Celsius oven for 30 or so minutes until nicely golden and cooked through. Allow to cool slightly.
For the Asian greens
These are delicious raw, so chop them up and place them in the bowl you’re going to serve the salad in.
If you would like the greens to be cooked, steam them for 2 minutes.
For the dressing
Place all ingredients except the sesame seeds and chilli in a jar and shake. You can keep the left over dressing in the fridge for other salads.
Place the roast pumpkin, Asian greens in a bowl, drizzle salad over and scatter sesame, nuts, spring onions and chilli over the top.
Hope you enjoy